Halfway There: 2014 Reads


Every year on goodreads I challenge myself to read a certain number of books, this year it was 20. It doesn’t seem like much, but when you are in university there just isn’t enough time in the day for reading. So far I am halfway to my goal and thought that it might be an interesting idea to discuss these books on my blog. I have now discovered that writing about books is difficult, I just don’t think I can do the books or my thoughts justice. But I gave it a try anyways. At the end of the year I will probably attempt this again. Hopefully I reach my goal!

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild was an interesting read for me. I don’t usually go for biographies, but this one caught my eye. What appealed to me was the sense of adventure that surrounded Christopher McCandless and essentially, enveloped him. His sense of adventure was his own demise. I myself could never have done what he did, I am too much of a materialist for that, which is probably why I just read about it in books. Jon Krakauer did an okay job retelling McCandless’ tale, but sometimes took me out of it. Especially when a whole chapter was devoted to him telling his own story about when he went mountain climbing when he was younger. I know it relates in some ways, but I didn’t buy this book to read about you, even if you did write it.

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

I often have this one trouble with books: I get so engrossed in the content that I read it too fast and ultimately forget what it was ever about. This is what happened with Fight Club. I decided to read Fight Club because I see it referenced everywhere and those references intrigued me. If the first rule is to not talk about fight club, then I want to know what fight club is. I thought that the story as a whole was well done and very original, but there are a lot of aspects that I just don’t remember. Its not the stories fault, its mine.

Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card

This book is one thousand times better than Ender’s Game. Maybe even ten thousand times better. I found Bean’s life far more interesting than Ender’s ever was. Bean was an orphan, his small size gets him into all sorts of scenarios, he is essentially a super human, all of this just makes for an interesting story. If you like sci-fi, then read this book! I really wish that they would make a movie out of Ender’s Shadow but I don’t think they ever will. They screwed up Bean in the movie version of Ender’s Game to much for that.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

I often have a hard time describing Murakami’s novels to people. I don’t think me saying “There is just lots of weird shit that happens” will quite do them justice. However, I can say that The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is my favorite out of Murakam’s novels that I have read so far. I simply liked the story more than the other ones I have read. The only thing about it is that its an open ending, you don’t know if he’s ever going to find his wife. I didn’t really have a problem with it per se, I am just very curious!

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Warning: This book will make you want to travel to Europe. I’m glad that I will be visiting the continent next year or else this book would have been akin to torture. This was my first Hemingway novel, and I really enjoyed it. I especially liked the writing style. One thing that I did not understand in it was how the two main characters were so deeply in love. It just didn’t seem convincing to me. Everything happened so fast and it seemed almost artificial. I later read that it was written that way to make love seem fleeting, which it definitely did a good job with. After reading that I appreciated the story more. Overall a good read. I’m interested in reading more of Hemingways work.

Love Letters of Great Men and Women by Ursula Doyle

I have already posted my thoughts on this book here. Most people would probably not read this book from to back like I did, but would rather skim through and read a letter here and there. I realize that my way is kind of insane, but I can’t help it. It bothers me if I don’t read a book all the way through. In all honesty, I think that my opinion of this book would be better if I had just read a letter once in awhile when I felt like it.

Emma by Jane Austen

Compared to Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park I did not enjoy Emma as much, but it is still a good read if you’re a fan of Jane Austen. My main problem with this novel was that I did not like the main character, Emma. She thought herself too above everyone else (because she is wealthier) and was so sure of her abilities with match-making, which is essentially where all the conflict arises in the story. I am glad that in the end she comes to her senses, but it took her a long time to learn.

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler

I loved this novel and as a result, it really messed me up. Before I read Z, I knew almost nothing about Zelda Fitzgerald or F. Scott Fitzgerald other than I loved his novels and she was very eccentric. Now I know that you can’t take everything in this novel as truth, after all they didn’t write it, but I think that Fowler did capture them quite well. I’ve always loved reading and watching anything that is set in the 20s, the golden age of America. And let me tell you, this couple didn’t take anything for granted, they really lived it up. Its the downfall that got to me, their life after they were married a couple of years seems so depressing. They fight all the time, Scott won’t let Zelda do the things she wants, they’re always in debt, they almost divorce. How it all ends is so sad. After I had finished reading this novel it left me thinking about it for days. About how peoples lives can seem so complete, and yet it all crumbles. It was all an illusion. I definitely recommend this one, especially if you enjoy period reads and are nosy and enjoy reading about others lives.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Before reading The Kite Runner I had already read one of Hosseini’s books, A Thousand Splendid Suns, so knew that it would be an emotional ride. The fact that this story is fiction but is placed within true events makes it even more so. This is a very human story. There are good people and bad people in the world and you will meet a few of each in your lifetime. The protagonist, Amir, definitely met the extreme of both sides. This book is essentially about choices and how the choices you make will resonate for the rest of your life. Hosseini writes a really good story, and amazing characters. If you’re not afraid to have your heart ripped out with emotion I would recommend it.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Northanger Abbey is definitely my least favorite Jane Austen novel. It seems mean but I thought Catherine was rather stupid. Actually, impulsive might be a better word. She did things without thinking and was too curious. Although, her curiosity never got her into any real trouble. What made me really dislike Northanger Abbey was the way it was narrated. Jane Austen would go in and out of perspectives. At one moment the narrator would say “And now our heroine is….” and the next we would be in the heroines head. This form of narration really distracted me at times and took me out of the story. Other than that it was all right.


2 thoughts on “Halfway There: 2014 Reads

  1. Im so jealous that you actually get to finish books you start. I used to be a bookworm when I was a teenager. I could read books in one day. As I grew up, I simply couldn’t find the time. Sometimes I’d start books but stop halfway. It’s frustrating. I also continue to buy books despite not being able to finish the previous ones. LOL I’m trying though! Have you read The Book Thief? One of my absolute favorites!

    • I used to read a lot more books as a teenager as well. As soon as I started university it slowly dwindled to almost nothing. Thats why I set reading goals to force me to read, haha. I’ve never read The Book Theif, though I’ve always meant to. I’ve heard good things about it. Thanks for the comment :)

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